What to do if you fall ill?

Student Ambassador Duong Ngoc Huong Thao explains what you should do when you are feeling ill during your stay in Holland.

Posted by Duong Ngoc Huong Thao - Student Ambassador - Saxion University of Applied Sciences at Sep 04, 2018 12:15 PM

Visit a General Practitioner first

In the Netherlands, when you get sick, you have to go to a family doctor, or ‘huisarts’ in Dutch. You have to come to the closet huisarts in your area and register first, and then you can make an appointment for health checking. Some huisarts have walk-in consultation hours, which is usually early in the morning (8:00 – 8:30 am). It means that you can visit the doctor without making appointment at this time. If you need some medicine, the doctor will issue you a prescription which are transferred to nearest ‘Apotheek’, or pharmacy .If you need further tests, the huisart will recommend you to go to the hospital. For convenience, huisarts’ office are often located near hospitals. They also receive house calls after-hours or weekends in emergency situations.

Payment at the Dutch Health care

There are two way the Dutch insurance company can cover your medical bills. It will pay your medical bills directly, or you will pay your medical bill yourself, and then ask for reimburse later. Be aware that Dutch insurance policies always include an additional amount of “own risk” fee, which you will need to pay yourself if your medication is over their regulations. You have to read carefully the insurance policies before going to the doctor.


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They let you treat yourself in case of normal illness

For new students, it is very easy to get cold/flu/sore throat in autumn or winter because the weather is different from your country. For those normal illness, you should take care of yourself well rather than going to the doctor, because these situations are not usually treated with medication in the Netherlands. You should dry your hair after taking bath, keep yourself warm when going outside, drink a lot of ginger tea with honey, and adapt some paracetamol.

Kruidvat can help

Kruidvat or Etos stores can have some medicine for you without the doctor prescription. You can go there and buy medicine for some normal illness. If you want vitamins and functional food, you can visit Holland & Barret.


Every city where you live will have different medical emergency number. But in case of life threat, the national number for all services in the Netherlands is: 112, and it can apply for the whole Europe. In hospital, you should go to the ‘SEH’ department or EHBO. SEH stands for Spoed-eisende Hulp, meaning ’emergency help’, and EHBO’ stands for Eerste Hulp bij Ongelukken, meaning: ‘First Aid’.

Posted by Duong Ngoc Huong Thao - Student Ambassador - Saxion University of Applied Sciences at Sep 04, 2018 12:15 PM